No Win No Fee on all compensation claims

Richard Dababneh discussing Personal Injury Law

Richard Dababneh providing Q & A on the 2GB Chris Smith Afternoon Show discussing Personal Injury Law

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

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CS – Chris Smith /RD – Richard Dababneh /C1,2,3, etc – Callers

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CS         Turner Freeman Lawyers provide a range of specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, superannuation and disability claims, employment law, wills and estates and property. There NSW offices are in Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Penrith, Newcastle and Wollongong. If you would like to go to their website it is simply turnerfreeman.com.au, turnerfreeman.com.au there is an outstanding chance to get free legal advice in our legal matters segment on the issues of workers compensation and personal injury so jump on that line and get in as quickly as you can. Richard Dababneh is an accredited specialist in personal injury law and he is partner at Turner Freeman’s Parramatta office and he joins me right now. Richard thank you very much for your time.

RD      Good afternoon.

CS         I do not want to labour on yesterday’s events too much, but they were absolutely horrible, how about we use that case sensitively to try and work out what is involved in the system for a family down the track and no doubt as they are still grieving to try and seek some compensation or what has occurred to their 18 year old son.

RD        Of course or thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the young man. It is a very sad story and it has touched a lot of people. It is unfortunate because we hear about these things happening quite often still in this day in age and we are in a society where OHS and work health and safety are important part and we still hear stories that people pass away on job sites.

CS         Yeah I guess it is a reflection to how our capital cities have gone crane made and the construction sites are plenty and so therefore you are only increasing the likelihood of someone being hurt, but that is another story for another day. The construction company involved is Genellin and while the developer is a company called Greenland Australia. So generally speaking and obviously can’t comment on this case, but who will be held responsible in similar circumstances and we do not know all the circumstances of this case, but in similar circumstances and what would be the process to go through to obtain compensation for that family that had to go through loosing their 18 year old.

RD        So the very first step is a straight workers compensation claim, so the employer has a primary duty of care to its employees so the young mans employer will be the first person involved or the first group involved as it is a company and through their workers compensation insurer iCare the young man’s family would have entitlement to have the funeral expenses firstly paid by the system, unfortunately it is capped at $15,000 but we do find that iCare might extend that a little bit to cover expenses especially when we are dealing with younger people.

CS         Funerals are terrible time, so if the family does not have money to try and pay a lawyer who has to launch some kind of compensation case against the company. Is there a way to have some kind of payment at the end or do they have to find the money to fork out to go through the process.

RD        Certainly not with us, Turner Freeman, we act on these case without the requiring our client’s to pay upfront.

CS         Right.

RD        And we only get paid if we are successful in the claim. It is a no win no fee and you have might have heard that in the past but with these types of claims as well there is a death benefit statutory claim that is funded by a body called WIRO the worker compensation independent review office. It is a division of iCare essentially which allows injured workers in this case the family of the deceased to make a claim through a lawyer without having to pay any fees.

CS         How does that work, mother and father or mother and/or father.

RD        Well the executors of the estate in this case would most likely be the parents, but with other workers it can be a spouse.

CS         Is there a cap on that?

RD        In terms of the death benefit?

CS         In compensation.

RD        Yes the death benefit is capped, it is currently just shy of $800,000, there is also a benefit if there are financial dependants or children and there is a weekly payment made to each child of $142 odd, that probably will not be relevant in this young man’s case.

CS         What about those who witnessed the event. I saw some of the news footage and I felt for his co-workers cause what they saw and what they tried to assist was terrible harrowing.

RD        That is called nervous shock claims and anyone that has witnessed something like that and has suffered an injury as a result a psychological reaction to that is entitled to put in a claim. One of the things you mentioned earlier at this stage we do not know who is at fault and we have already discussed the employers non delegable duties to take care of their employees, but there is also a duty that extends to head contractors and the project managers and things like that are on site that extend to more than just their employees but to also contractors on site which is this young man. There may be other claims available but also a compensation to relatives claims.

CS       But nothing can be done until proper investigation. 131673 if you like to speak with Richard. Daniel do right ahead.

Caller 1 – Daniel

Daniel Good afternoon, I have to go in for a shoulder reconstruction and I was just curious because I do a lot of overtime each week and I can’t really afford to go back to a standard hourly wage. What happens when it was an accident through work.

RD      In the first 12 months that you off work because of an accident, it does include your overtime and allowances and bonus payments when they calculate your average weekly payments outside that 12 months then it does fall back to a base rate of pay. With a shoulder reconstruction it is a very serious surgery and very serious injury and you might have other entitlement to sue the employer’s negligence and you may be able to recover other compensation damages that will cover you for your total economic loss including all these things that are in workers compensation payments.

Daniel   That is good to know, thank you.

CS         Thank you Daniel for calling. Peter in Bathurst, Hi Pete.

Peter     Good afternoon, I guess, my situation was probably a bit silly. I injured my wrist 6 months ago the boss really frowns on workers comp and pay work and I thought I’ll wear with it and hope it gets better. Unfortunately it has not gotten better and my situation where it is probably too late to back track and say I did it at work 6 months or is there a bit of hope.

RD        No, there is still hope, you do need to do it soon rather than later and the law requires that claims to be lodged in 6 months, but the notice of the injury to be given as soon as practicable after the injury occurs. If you employer knows about it and mentioned it in passing informally then that should be enough and you lodge a claim now. There is always hope in these types of things.

Peter     Yeah, that is the trouble in country NSW you are very expandable and you don’t like upsetting the apple cart so you just keep it to yourself. I will need surgery down the track. I am probably left high and dry.

RD        The other thing you could do and importantly is have a chat to your doctor and let them record it in their notes so that at least you can go back and say I did mention it to my doctors it is all there. I spoke to them about where it happened, how it happened and that it happened at work and that you can get around these strict time limitations.

Peter     ok, great thank you.

CS         Well all the best Peter. Thank you, Fay in Kurrajong. Hi Fay.

Caller 3 – Fay

Fay          Hi, I am ringing up about when my son when he was 18 an apprentice was on a job site and was actually during that whole day was picking asbestos from a demolished building with no protective clothing what so ever. He came home that night and told us about it. We were obviously horrified and he didn’t know the repercussions of the asbestos. We spoke to the manager of the company he worked for and they lodged a incident report with Work Cover and apologised and that was virtually the end of it. As we know asbestos is going to be an illness from that can happen many, many years down the track and no doubt this company that he works for unfortunately does end up some mesothelioma or something of the sought, they will long gone. Where do we stand as this stage that he was made to do this. I am absolutely horrified that he had to do this and he is now 26, but we just don’t know what the future holds in that respect.

RD      Yeah that is quite shocking. With dust disease matters there is actually a separate act that deals with that and there are separate rules and laws which apply. 

CS       Is that a national act or a state act.

RD      It is a state act, but there are similar acts throughout Australia. The important thing for you to understand is that even if the company is no longer around in 30 or 40 years’ time and if and hopefully it does not occur, if he does contract a disease from that exposure insurance does last he still will be able to come back and make a claim against it. The fact is has been recorded now makes it easier because we know where the exposure was.

CS       Fay I have a $100 Westfield voucher for you as well.

Fay      Wow, thank you.

CS       Yes, $100 voucher, how is your son in terms of heath, is he fine?

Fay      He is fine, but we have actually said to him maybe he should have routine and which x-rays shows it anyway but to have a lung x-ray after so many years because it is one of those hidden things that you never know and he does suffer from asthma as well. I do know if that is a factor in his lung issues down the track.

RD      That is very good advice, you can register with the Dust Disease Board in fact and they can pay for expenses. So that is probably a start.

CS       So Dust Diseases Board.

RD      That’s right.

Fay      I will look into that, thank you so much.

CS       Good on you Fay, stay right there so I can put you back to switch to make sure you get that $100 Westfield voucher to you. Richard Dababneh I have run out of time already this afternoon. Thank you for yours time.

RD      Pleasure.

CS       Accredited specialist in personal injury law. Richard Dababneh at Turner Freeman. The Turner Freeman number 134363.